I’ve always loved to tell stories. As a child this used to get me in trouble in an “Oh what a tangled web…” kind of way. As an adult it won me friends. I adore making people laugh.
My family did not consider stand-up comedy to be a viable a career option. I’m lucky, my parents did believe that women should be educated, so they sent me off. I studied Sociology, at Wilfrid Laurier University. I think people are fascinating, especially in groups, but seriously, Sociologist jobs are a bit hard to come by.
So, I got a Bachelor of Education from the Ontario Teacher Education College, and then a Visual Arts Specialist, from York University. This was all aimed at a career in education, which I’ve loved. I think I’ve made a meaningful contribution to the world. My teaching experience is relevant here because I taught secondary school English, including the Writer’s Craft course, so… I can spell and my grammar is competent.
I took an employment break to raise my kids. I think that’s really important. Stay-at-home parents (not just moms) are shaping future citizens. They’re the ones volunteering in our schools and other community organizations. I made life-long friends among the other preschool parents. Sort of like the “Monday Morning Mother’s Group” in my book.
Looking back I realized during that time I had a number of jobs that involved writing in various forms. I was an Environmental Education Consultant. I handled Marketing and Human Resources for a giftware company. I was a Freelance reporter, which led to being a Provincial Candidate and Municipal Politician.
My focus on creative writing began with a student’s question, “What do you write?” It’s a strange truth that as an art teacher, I never did any art myself, and then as a writing instructor I was being called out for not actually doing any creative writing. Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar.
So, I started putting stories on paper. I like what’s called “scene” style writing. I rely heavily on dialogue, using narration to clarify who’s speaking and what they’re doing. I submitted stories to magazines and contests, and began reading at open mic nights. I love reading to a live audience. Having them laugh in the right places is a buzz. In 2015 Guelph Spoken Word asked me to be the feature artist at their monthly Poetry Slam. I got paid to do that! I also joined their team at the Guelph Comedy Festival, more money and an awesome experience.
In the fall of 2015 I won the Fringe Contest at the Eden Mills Writer’s Festival. The story was “Adopt-A-Pet” which is now in “We Drank Wine.” I got to read, and the story was published in a little booklet. It was my first published story! The very next year I won the Literary Award at Eden Mills. My work in not particularly “literary” so this was a big surprise. I won $250.00 and got to read with all the University of Guelph MFA students. My winning story was “Viking Cruise,” one of my favourites. It is also in “We Drank Wine” (which you should buy, it’s on Amazon).